Ultimate stages of crop production are harvesting and storage. Harvesting requires art and practice because a large proportion of crop can be lost due to an improper method of harvesting. Another responsibility after harvesting is storage. Storage of grains is much more to be taken care. An improper way of storage can lead the whole hard work in vain. This necessitates the knowledge of harvesting and methods of storage and protection of grains which are discussed below.
Crop Production & Harvest
Once the crop is mature, it is cut and gathered which is called harvesting. Harvesting depends on many factors like season, crop variety, maturity period etc. Over-irrigation, irregular sunlight can prolong ripening of crop which thus delays the harvesting time. Early harvesting causes loss of unripened grains while delayed harvesting leads to shedding off of grains, sometimes even birds eat the grains. Therefore regular examination of the crop is necessary as the harvesting period approaches. The Golden yellow color is the indication of ripened crops like rice and wheat. Manually harvesting is done by using sickles but it is a tedious job as well as time-consuming. In recent times, machines called harvesters are used for harvesting especially in large-scale farming.
Followed by harvesting, threshing of the crop has to do. Here grains are separated from the chaff by beating or by the threshing machine. In small-scale farming, chaff and grains are separated from each other by a process called winnowing.
Harvesting is considered as a festival. It is a time of joy where the fruits of the hard work of farmers come into reality. Some of the harvesting festivals are Pongal, Bihu etc.
In the case of small-scale cultivation, farmers use the harvested crop for themselves while large-scale production is mainly for marketing. Thus the cultivators have to store the grains. For this, a proper storage space has to be arranged. Inadequate storage space and improper storage methods can lead to a huge grain loss.
In addition to pest and rodents, microbes like bacteria, fungus, environmental conditions like moisture, temperature etc. may attack the stored grains. Therefore a proper treatment is required before storing of grains. Rodents and pests can be prevented by pesticides. Moist environment results in fungal growth on grains. This can be avoided by proper drying of grains in sunlight. Another method is fumigation where chemicals are used to prevent bacteria and other microorganisms. After proper treatments, grains have to be stored in gunny bags or granaries and deposited in godowns.
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